When Nicole Tesseyman set up her Little Larks children’s singing group, she never imagined that she would one day be offered a record deal and release an album of her own songs.

Nicole harbour
Singer songwriter Nicole Tesseyman

The album, Oll an Gwella, will be launched in February, and will mark the start of an exciting year for Nicole.  

But what appears to be a whirlwind singing career follows years of hard work and creative experience, which included theatre, street entertainment, puppeteering, and poetry. And as well as Little Larks — which aims to build children’s confidence and enable them to find joy though singing — Nicole also ran after-school clubs, and What Larks singing sessions in care homes and memory cafes.

When the pandemic hit, Nicole continued running Little Larks via Facebook — assisted by her daughter Summer, who was then age seven — so little ones could join in from their homes. She was inspired to write a song, Old Lockdown, which she posted on Facebook to cheer everybody up — a light-hearted spin on the situation, and a way of letting people know that “it won’t be long before we can all be together again!”

The warm reception which the song received inspired Nicole to write more. One of her first songs was a sea shanty with a singalong chorus, called Mallios, a reminder of a fish recipe of that name loved by St Ives folk. Another song, Time and Tide, got the nod of approval from the local fishermen. Nicole says: “I’m very lucky to have inside information about fishing from my partner Richard McClary, whose fishing family have inspired my songs.”

After performing at the 2022 St Ives September Festival, Nicole was signed to Polyphony Records in Kidderminster. Over the last 12 months, she has been recording with producer Steve Carrigan, and releasing four singles, including White Horses, a St Ives folk song which takes us on a journey through the town, where we’re never far from wild waves — the white horses of the title.

Since April last year, Nicole has been singing her own material and folk and country classics around St Ives. She has also appeared at the Cornwall Folk Festival, in Wadebridge, and other events, and has been described as “a young Brenda Wootton”. She loves to have people singing along with her, especially Cornish favourites like Going Up Camborne Hill and Little Lize.

Her song Christmas is Here, released late last year, featured children from Nancledra and St Ives junior schools — and Little Larks, who performed the song in their Christmas show, The Grinch v Christmas Joy.

Nicole’s new album includes and folk songs, upbeat country, and sea shanties, including melodic, haunting songs based on stories about the more treacherous moments at sea. The album’s title, Oll an Gwella, means “All the Best” in Cornish. All the lyrics were written by St Ives’ very own Cornish Lark, and show her love for her native town.

Nicole’s first ever gig was at the Engine Inn at Cripplesease, so what better place for her album to be launched on 16th February? If you enjoy listening to her songs and would like to support her, why not come along and buy the album? And wish her Oll an Gwella!

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